Supporting the emotional well-being of members of our Ambulance Service.

Mission Statement

To support the staff of the National Ambulance Service, through partnership, by the provision of a CISM system.

  • Oversee the operations of the Critical Incident Stress Management Programme.
  • The Committee acknowledges the legislative responsibility of NAS Management in identifying risk within the organisation. The Committee will work to support NAS Leadership team (NASLT) in carrying out analysis and identification of the risk factors arising within the National Ambulance Service, as a result of Critical Incident Stress and its contributing factors.
  • In collaboration with the NASLT and NASC the Committee will design programmes, processes and procedures to enable the National Ambulance Service to manage these risks as effectively as possible.
  • To implement training programmes, policy documents, commission research and other actions that address specific risks (i.e. Work PositiveCI).
  • Carry out evaluation of all CISM programmes, processes and procedures to ensure that they meet organisational and individual needs.
  • Ensure that the NASCISM Programme is operating within the principles of best practice.
  • The Committee will hold and maintain an up to date database of all PSWs nationally and per region
  • The Committee will endeavour to provide guidance on Activation of CISM within the NAS

A Critical Incident is an incident or stressor event (crisis event) which appears to cause, or be associated
with, a crisis response and which has the ability to overwhelm a person’s usual coping mechanism
(Everly and Mitchell, 1999).
The most severe forms of Critical Incident (CI) may be considered traumatic incidents.
Ambulance personnel are more commonly exposed to smaller scale traumatic events such as road traffic
accidents, suicides or COT deaths (Clohessy and Ehlers, 1999). An event may occasionally be so
traumatic or overwhelming that emergency personnel may subsequently experience a significant stress
Critical Incident Stress (CIS) is the stress reaction of a person or a group to a Critical Incident (or CI)
and is characterised by a wide range of cognitive, physical, emotional and behavioural signs and
symptoms which are likely to diminish over time (Lavan & McManamly, 2003). It may be viewed as a
collection of symptoms which develop in response to unusual or abnormal life events.

This training programme runs over five days and is followed, about six months later, by a further two
days training. In addition Peer Supporters are expected to attend one day annual refresher training
sessions. The Peer Supporter/Stress Awareness Trainer curriculum includes modules on Critical Incident
Stress Management in the Irish Ambulance Service

  • Stress in general, work stress.
  • Practical techniques for stress management
  • Critical incident stress
  • Stress in ambulance and emergency services
  • Introduction to the Stress Awareness Trainer’s Pack
  • Presentation Skills
  • The role of the Peer Supporter in the CISM System.
  • Basic helping and support skills
  • Trauma, Loss and Bereavement
  • Post-incident interventions
  • Continuing Care – fostering social support
  • Monitoring Recovery
  • Ethical Issues
  • Secondary Traumatisation, Burnout, Support for Peer Supporter
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